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Subject: Re: NORMA's high def presentation
From: Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 8 Oct 2017 14:39:07 -0700
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I heard Caballe at the Met with Cossotto and my sustaining memory is the two of them waiving their arms like signalmen on an aircraft carrier. 

Sent from my iPhone

> On Oct 8, 2017, at 14:23, tom ponti <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Probably the best Norma, overall, I ever saw or heard was the Orange performance by Caballe. She probably sang the greatest Casta Diva of the twentieth century. She was vocally great throughout and dramatically very convincing. I did see Caballe's Norma at the Met, but for some reason, I do not remember it at all. In the performance I heard live, Sutherland was excellent in the first 3 acts and vocally and dramatically great in the last act. I have seen parts of Sondra's Norma, of a few years ago on You Tube and agree with Les about singing of the role. I did not hear yesterday's performance. Hopefully, it will be on You Tube soon, or on TV as well.
> 
> 
> ________________________________
> From: Discussion of opera and related issues <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, October 8, 2017 3:50 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [OPERA-L] NORMA's high def presentation
> 
> I haven't attended all that many HD presentations, but I've attended enough to make
> a comparison to yesterday's Norma.  First of all, I was not happy with the way the sound
> was being transmitted ----- and I didn't think the volume was high enough, especially in
> the first act.  Moreover, to my ears, it didn't sound as clear as I would have wished.  I
> know that the others I've attended in the past sounded more "vivid" and clearer.  In the
> first act, it sounded to me like there was a scrim-like quality to the sound.
>     Moving on, I didn't care for the production at all.  Were the Druids active only during
> the middle of the night?  And the costumes!  The Druids looked like cavemen under the
> command of Attila the Hun (If you ever saw the 1955 film "Sign of the Pagan" with Jack
> Palance (1955), you know what I mean.  Mr. Rose's Oroveso made me yearn for the
> sounds of Cesare Siepi or Samuel Ramey.  diDonato's costume and appearance did her no
> justice, and I saw no reason for Adalgisa to be almost worshiping Norma during the Casta
> Diva and the cabaletta.  Why was she there at all?   I thought the kids were cute, and I
> enjoyed Radvanovsky's interaction with them.
>     I admire and respect Radvanovsky's Norma.  Those high pianos are gorgeous to be
> sure, and her voice is certainly up the the demands of the role.  Hers is a beautiful
> creation.  I must confess that I missed the Callas-like venom and weighty low chest notes
> at the bottom of the voice as well as the sheer thrust of her incisive consonants.
> Radvanovsky simply doesn't have these in her vocal arsenal ----- but Callas certainly
> didn't have the piano soft notes of Radvanovsky!   I found diDonato wonderful as always,
> and the duets were beautifully done.
>    What I really appreciated was the restoration of the rapid "stretto" music towards the
> end of the Pollione/Adalgisa duet in Act I.  I love that music.  And even more significantly,
> I was thrilled to hear that sublime Moon Rise music after the "Guerra, Guerra" chorus,
> which is so frequently omitted.  I find this music so moving and the very essence of what
> bel canto is ------ with the harp accompanying the orchestra.
>    I have to confess that I love the opera and HAVE loved it since I heard it when I was
> sixteen (on both Callas studio recordings).  Then, of course, I bought the
> Sutherland/Horne recording and while I loved the Bonynge orchestral additions, as well as
> Sutherland's embellishments, and of course, Marilyn Horne.  Sutherland's Norma?  All
> technically perfect, but for me, such perfection led to boredom very fast.  I don't think
> that Sutherland ever scratched the emotional surface of Norma. For the most part she
> sang most of the role on vowel sounds.  She wasn't big on emphasizing consonants. Her
> Norma was a perfect statue - devoid of fire and passion.  But what a sound she made!
> 
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